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Wrecked - Review

Adrien Brody in Wrecked

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ADRIEN Brody delivers another towering performance in Wrecked, a taught, consistently intriguing and regularly tense survival thriller that really doesn’t deserve its straight-to-DVD status in the UK.

Working from a similar premise that inspired the likes of Buried and 127 Hours, the film follows one man’s desperate attempt to beat the elements and the odds, while adding an extra layer of nuance – in this case amnesia – to further complicate the puzzle facing him.

Brody is excellent in an almost wordless performance, tapping into a range of emotions as he attempts to live and figure out his identity, while Michael Greenspan’s direction makes great use of the Vancouver Island locations and his leading character’s fractured mental state, providing several moments of mis-direction that heighten the sense of unease.

The film opens as a man (played by Brody) regains consciousness in a wrecked car in a forest at the bottom of a sloping cliff.

He is, at first, trapped by his right leg and riddled with pain and concussion. But he is a sole survivor. The driver has been thrown from the vehicle, while a rear passenger also lies dead in the back seat.

Initially, Brody’s situation seems desperate and futile. But through sheer determination and brute force, he is able to free himself from the wreck and start to piece together snippets from his past.

A radio news report gives him an identity but a troubling one, suggesting that he is wanted by the police and considered ‘armed and very dangerous’. There is money in the boot of the vehicle.

Constructing a splint for himself, Brody slowly attempts to crawl away from the wreckage towards some kind of rescue. But given the unforgiving nature of his environment, which way is best?

And what is real and what isn’t? Is there really a man in the woods with a rifle? A dog to keep him company? And who is the woman (Caroline Dhavernas) who keeps appearing to him – in the first instance as an unlikely rescuer who quickly turns out to be a figment of his hopeful imagination?

Christopher Dodd’s screenplay does provide answers to all the questions but, suffice to say, the less you know, the more gripping the film becomes.

Brody, meanwhile, remains immense throughout – using very little to convey so much: torment, anger, fear, desperation, despair. He is a terrific choice of leading man, whose performance at least rivals those of James Franco and Ryan Reynolds in similar situations.

As ever with these kinds of films, and Buried in particular, the ending may not be to everyone’s taste. But for my money it worked and proved a satisfying reward for sticking with the journey.

But the main pleasure in watching comes from piecing together the puzzle anyway, as well as seeing Brody – an Oscar winner, remember – go through his turmoil and battle the elements, which include everything from evading hungry mountain cats to eating worms or battling a raging river while never able to stand up. Trust us, your heart will be in your mouth at several points.

Watch the trailer:

Certificate: 15
Running time: 91mins
UK Release Date: August 29, 2011